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J Neurochem. 1997 Jan;68(1):265-71.

Amyloid beta protein potentiates Ca2+ influx through L-type voltage-sensitive Ca2+ channels: a possible involvement of free radicals.

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CNS Research Laboratories, Shionogi and Co., Ltd., Osaka, Japan.


Amyloid beta protein (A beta), the central constituent of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain, is known to exert toxic effects on cultured neurons. The role of the voltage-sensitive Ca2+ channel (VSCC) in beta (25-35) neurotoxicity was examined using rat cultured cortical and hippocampal neurons. When L-type VSCCs were blocked by application of nimodipine, beta (25-35) neurotoxicity was attenuated, whereas application of omega-conotoxin GVIA (omega-CgTX-GVIA) or omega-agatoxin IVA (omega-Aga-IVA), the blocker for N- or P/Q-type VSCCs, had no effects. Whole-cell patch-clamp studies indicated that the Ca2+ current density of beta (25-35)-treated neurons is about twofold higher than that of control neurons. Also, beta (25-35) increased Ca2+ uptake, which was sensitive to nimodipine. The 2', 7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate assay showed the ability of beta (25-35) to produce reactive oxygen species. Nimodipine had no effect on the level of free radicals. In contrast, vitamin E, a radical scavenger, reduced the level of free radicals, neurotoxicity, and Ca2+ uptake. These results suggest that beta (25-35) generates free radicals, which in turn, increase Ca2+ influx via the L-type VSCC, thereby inducing neurotoxicity.

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